Nothing in it for us: Vidarbha farmers on loan waiver enhancement
BS Reporter / Mumbai May 24, 2008, 0:28 IST
Enhancement of loan waiver package to Rs 71,000 crore is not going to help the farmers from the suicide stricken six cotton growing districts from Vidarbha as the move fails to meet the basic demand of the region's farmers that the qualifying area of landholdings should be increased from 2 hectares and the cut-off date for becoming eligible for the package be extended, said president of Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) Kishore Tiwari.
In a press release issued by VJIAS, Tiwari alleged that it was common knowledge that landholdings were bigger in dryland areas like Vidarbha and Bundelkhand. But despite many NGOs and political parties highlighting the need for increasing the limit of landholding for dryland areas, and even Congress President Sonia Gandhi and General Secretary Rahul Gandhi admitting the need for doing so, the government failed to take this much-needed step. "This clearly shows the bias of the whole system against the dryland farmers," he said.
He also alleged that "since farmers from Western Maharashtra, which is a stronghold of NCP president and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, had benefited most from the package, Pawar is simply neglecting the plight of dry land farmers".
Demanding that cotton farmers from Vidarbha should be given complete loan waiver irrespective of their landholdings, Tiwari said that "as promised in the election manifesto by the Congress and NCP in 2004, the Democratic Front government in the state should immediately announce Rs 2,700 per quintal minimum support price (MSP) for cotton".
The state government should also immediately set up a regulatory mechanism to ensure farmers get quality seeds at affordable rates, so that they are not taken for a ride by the seed companies, the press release added.